Last week journalists in China reported rumours Antonio Conte was being linked with a big money move to the Super League.
Reliable sources at Guangzhou R&F and Shanghai SIPG have now confirmed offers are on the table from both clubs for the Italian.
Fellow countryman Fabio Cannavaro is currently the highest paid manager in the Chinese Super League and fourth highest paid in the world on £10.6m-a-year. However the rumoured offers could change that with Conte’s arrival.
Conte links to Guangzhou won’t aid Dragan Stojkovic’s status, which is understood to be unstable. Stojkovic extended his contract with Guangzhou R&F until the end of 2020 but it seems the owners aren’t satisfied with mid-table finishes and could get rid in favour of the former Premier League Champion.
If Guangzhou R&F decide to continue with the leagues longest serving manager Stojkovic, then Shanghai SIPG will move into pole position to sign Antonio Conte.
Current manager Vitor Pereira only joined SIPG in December 2017. There’s no question of his quality as his side currently sit second behind Beijing Sinobo Guoan, yet it is the high profile attraction Conte would bring that Shanghai SIPG owners desire.
Sources in Shanghai believe Pereira lacks the profile of fellow Chinese Super League Managers Cannavaro, Chris Coleman and Dan Petrescu. The acquirement of Conte would certainly boost the clubs profile; an aspect of the Club that has been important since the first influx of foreign talent.
Speculation is rife over the future of the ex-Blues boss after he was axed by billionaire owner Roman Abramovich last week. Abramovich was quick to replace him with Napoli Manager Maurizio Sarri.
If Conte does land in China he could kick off an influx of Chelsea players to the Chinese Super League. Ongoing links with Willian, Alvaro Morata and Gary Cahill will only heighten following Conte’s arrival and Guangzhou R&F or Shanghai SIPG would be perfect destinations.
Willian is the subject of a £70m deal to Barcelona but the salary on offer and the opportunity to join fellow Brazilians Hulk and Oscar could sway him to China.
Gary Cahill could finally be the first high-profile Englishman to enter the Chinese Super League if Conte accepted a contract to manage and he decided to follow his former mentor. English stars such as Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard have all turned down the opportunity to play in China.